Vancouver is a cosmopolitan city surrounded by a gorgeous natural environment located between the stunning North Shore Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. In this post we explain some of the many reasons you should visit Vancouver.
If you have any a specific question about Vancouver, or about any of the many interesting places we suggest to visit in Vancouver , remember that you can ask at the Vancouver Forum and some member of the community will be able to help you.
- 1Vancouver Public Library, Central Library
- 2Vancouver Art Gallery
- 3Coal Harbour
- 4Vancouver Harbour Seaplane Terminal
- 5Canada Place
- 6FlyOver Canada
- 8Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
- 9Science World at TELUS World of Science
- 10Granville Island
- 11Museum of Vancouver
- 12English Bay Beach
- 13Stanley Park
- 14Vancouver Seawall
- 15Vancouver Aquarium
- 16Museum of Anthropology
- 17Queen Elizabeth Park
- 18Capilano Suspension Bridge
- 19Grouse Mountain Skyride
- Where to stay in Vancouver for Sightseeing ?
- What else can I do in Vancouver ?
Vancouver Public Library, Central Library
If you go to Vancouver for sightseeing, it is most likely that your hotel is located in Downtown, Yaletown, Gastown or Coal Harbor. That is why the route we propose begins at the Vancouver Public Library, which is very close to the Vancouver city center. For more information about Vancouver hotels you can read Where to Stay in Vancouver for Sightseeing ? ).
Vancouver Public Library ( by GTV )
The Vancouver Public Library is a very beautiful building, built in a coiled shape somewhat reminiscent of the colosseum in Rome. It has breathtaking views from upper floors, so it is a place where you can take some lovely photos. On the ground floor has shops, snack bars and coffee.
Vancouver Art Gallery
The Vancouver Art Gallery ( VAG ) is the largest gallery in Western Canada, and features both contemporary and historical exhibits, by canadian and international artists.
Vancouver Art Gallery - VAG ( by GVT )
The Vancouver Art Gallery is home to over 11,000 art pieces, ranging from Canadian, Dutch and British paintings to the photographic works of artists like Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
The gallery faces Robson Square, a public space which includes a winter ice-skating rink.
The area got its name after coal was found here in 1859. Now is a pleasant residential area, plenty of glass skyscrapers along a waterfront. The entire neighborhood is lined by a very lovely walkway.
The best way to enjoy Coal Harbour waterfront is by walking along Coal Harbour walkway, a paved walking path starting near Canada Place.
Make sure you visit the Olympic Cauldron in the Jack Poole Plaza, home of the Olympic flame from the Vancouver 2010 Olympics & Paralympics Winter Games.
Vancouver Harbour Seaplane Terminal
The best way to see Vancouver and it's bays, is to book a seaplane tour. Remember to rent the headphones with which the tour is narrated, so while you're in the air you will hear about the sites you are seeing while you're flying over them.
On a seaplane flight over Vancouver you will experience the beauty of the landscape, the serenity of the sea and the spectacular view of Vancouver. It's an unforgettable experience.
Canada Place was originally the site of an old cargo pier and now is a cruise terminal, to and from Alaska. It was rebuilt for Expo '86 to turn the pier into an attractive and unique structure, that remember Sydney Opera House. It is the site of the largest convention center in Western Canada, the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel, Vancouver's World Trade Centre, and the FlyOver Canada virtual flight attraction.
Canada Place ( by Lucas )
The most interesting attractions at Canada Place are FlyOver Canada and the Canadian Trail, a walk across Canada from east to west and north to south. Stroll along the Canadian Trail to the North Point for incredible views of the port of Vancouver, Stanley Park, Coal Harbour, Burrard Inlet and the beautiful North Shore mountains.
Stroll through Canada Place is free and it's a great place to take amazing pictures of Vancouver bay backed by the beautiful North Shore mountains.
FlyOver Canada Simulated Flight Ride
FlyOver Canada, is an amazing simulated flight-ride experience you can enjoy in Canada Place. From your seat under the high-dome screen, you’ll careen through the sky, hurdle over mountains, feel the wind in your face and take in the woody scents of alpine forests. At eight minutes long, this simulated flight is the longest in the world.
The majority of Vancouver's downtown is filled with modern skyscrapers that have earned Vancouver the nickname the city of glass, but in Gastown you will find lots of attrative old Victorian houses, brick builded, that have been preserved to save the area's rich history.
Gastown is one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in Vancouver, teems with great restaurants, pubs and shops. It is the oldest neighborhood in the city and it was the original settlement that became the core of the creation of Vancouver.
Gastown Steam Clock
The most iconic street in Gastown is Water Street, where you'll find some of Vancouver’s finest souvenir shops, good restaurants and the famous Gastown Steam Clock, build in 1977 by Raymond Saunders ( show map ).
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Many of the Vancouver's inhabitants are descendants of Chinese immigrants, that's the reason why in downtown Vancouver is located the third largest Chinatown in North America.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
When visiting Vancouver's Chinatown, there are many things you can do, as visit some of the chinese bakeries or a traditional Chinese herbalist, but what you should not miss is the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. A Ming Dynasty architecture garden, constructed using traditional techniques and authentic materials imported from China.
Science World at TELUS World of Science
The Science World at TELUS World of Science is a place where kids can discover the wonders of science. Everything is designed to help little ones learn through play. It is a highly recommended visit if you are traveling to Vancouver with young children.
Science World at TELUS
Granville Island is located on the south side of False Creek. The island can easily be reached by aquabus or public transit ( #50 bus ).
Granville Island ( by Mark Mitchell )
The Granville Island Public Market is the island’s crown jewel. An indoor market featuring a fascinating assortment of colourful fresh food just out of the ocean, the field or the oven. You will also find many stores, showcasing handcrafted products and the very finest in unique gifts and souvenirs.
Museum of Vancouver
The Museum of Vancouver ( MOV ) is the largest civic museum in Canada and the oldest museum in Vancouver. The museum provides excellent insight into early Vancouver history.
The most interesting part of the museum are some of the local BC First Nations artwork especially some of the argillite and wooden sculptures. It also has a interesting collection of asian and egyptian antiquities.
Museum of Vancouver
It is an interesting place for adults who are interested in history and ethnology, but it is not designed to make a family visit, children will get bored.
English Bay Beach
There are great urban beaches in Vancouver, some of them located right in the heart of the city. The most populars are: English Bay Beach ( also called First Beach ), Second Beach and Third Beach ( located on the Stanley Park ), Kitsilano Beach, Jericho Beach and Locarno Beach.
English Bay Beach is one of Vancouver’s most beautiful and popular beaches, is connected to Stanley Park along the seawall. It is a good area to eat lunch or dinner, there are lots of trendy restaurants near English Bay, mostly along Denman Street.
English Bay Beach ( by Kyle Pearce )
Each year, in English Bay Beach takes place one of the Vancouver’s premier events, the Honda Celebration of Light fireworks competition. In 2019 the dates are July 27th, July 31st and August 3rd.
English Bay Beach is a must for anyone visiting Vancouver and a great place to take sundown photos.
Stanley Park is a public park that borders the downtown of Vancouver. It has about a half million trees, some of which stand as tall as 76 metres (249 ft) and are up to hundreds of years old. Stanley Park is the largest urban park in Canada.
In Stanley Park you can enjoy nice forest trails, beaches, lakes, children's play areas, and many other attractions as the Vancouver Aquarium, Siwash Rock ( a famous rock outcropping ), Prospect Point ( a lookout with amazing sights ), the First Nations Totem Poles ( the most visited attraction in Vancouver, BC, and possibly all of Canada ) and the Brockton Point Lighthouse.
Brockton Point Lighthouse. Stanley Park.
The Vancouver's seawall is a stone wall and a paved pathway that was constructed around the perimeter of Stanley Park, to prevent the erosion of the park's foreshore.
Following this route, whether on foot or bicycle ( you can rent a bike on Denman Street ), is one of the best ways to discover Vancouver. The seawall starts at the Vancouver Convention Centre and is mostly flat, making it an easy ride or walk for those of all abilities and ages.
Vancouver's Seawall. Stanley Park. ( by Skinny Lawyer )
Some of the most interesting Vancouver's attractions are in the seawall, as the nine totem poles at Brockton Point ( the most visited tourist attraction in BC ), the Vancouver Aquarium or the Stanley Park Nine O’clock Gun, a 12 pounder naval canon, located on the seawall just southwest of Brockton Point which is shooted every night at 9:00 to helped local residents callibrate their clocks ( 😄 it's not a joke, is a 115 year-old Vancouver tradition ).
Another must see on Stanley Park is the Vancouver Aquarium. It's not very big, but it's one of the best in the world. You can see sea otters, sea lions and 50,000 other aquatic creatures. You can also immerse yourself in the 4D Experience Theatre, which combines the high-definition excitement of a 3D film with thrilling sensory effects.
Vancouver Aquarium. Stanley Park. ( by Colin Knowles )
The Vancouver Aquarium has many visitors in summer but you can avoid the crowd by going there in less busy hours ( earlier in the morning or later in the evening ).
Museum of Anthropology
The Vancouver Museum of Anthropology ( MOA ) is dedicated to world arts and cultures, with a special emphasis on the First Nations peoples ( indigenous people of British Columbia ).
The Museum contains a great collection of antiquities primarily related to the First Nations with numerous totem poles, canoes, sculpture and other native Canadian artifacts. Some items come from the South Pacific Islands.
Haida sculpture. Museum of Anthropology ( by Joe Goldberg )
Be sure to visit the outdoor display, which includes both totem poles and longhouses ( a large and narrow building without rooms, which were used as community housing ).
Queen Elizabeth Park
Queen Elizabeth Park is the second most visited park in Vancouver, because holds some of the most beautiful public gardens in Canada.
Bloedel Conservatory. Queen Elizabeth Park ( by Guilhem Vellut )
The Queen Elizabeth Park has about 1500 trees from across Canada. It is divided into several areas as the Quarry Gardens or the Rose Garden and also holds many exotic species.
Do not miss, the amazing Dancing Waters fountain located adjacent to Bloedel Conservatory with its 70 jets of water, using 85,000 litres of recirculating water.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
Two of the most spectacular attractions in Vancouver are on the outskirts of the city on the North Shore of Vancouver, the Capilano Suspension Bridge and the Grouse Mountain Skyride.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is easily accessible by public transit or by the free shuttle buses departing from Downtown, it's only 20 minutes from Downtown Vancouver.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
In the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park you can cross a 140 metres (460 ft) length and 70 metres (230 ft) height suspension bridge and walk on a cliffwalk, two truly incredible experiences.
If you visit Vancouver between November 22, 2018 and January 27, 2019, you can also enjoy the Canyon Lights Festival, with hundreds of thousands of lights throughout the park. The suspension bridge and the cliff walk are transformed into a world of festive lights and visual enchantment.
Capilano Suspension Bridge Lights Festival
Grouse Mountain Skyride
Another great attraction that you can only enjoy in Vancouver is the Grouse Mountain Skyride, the North America's largest aerial tramway system, which takes you to the majestic Peak of Vancouver.
Grouse Mountain Skyride
Where to stay in Vancouver for Sightseeing ?
If you visit Vancouver for sightseeing, the most advisable thing is to search a hotel in Downtown Vancouver. The downtown Vancouver area is divided into six neighbourhoods: Downtown, Coal Harbor, Gastown, Yaletown, Davie Village and West End.
If you are looking for a super-central hotel, you must search a hotel in the Downtown Vancouver.
If you are in Vancouver to catch a cruise, the best neighborhood to stay is Coal Harbour, located right by the cruise terminal. It starts at Canada Place where cruises depart and stretches over to Stanley Park. There are some good hotels near Coal Harbour.
Gastown is the Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood and the most lively place to stay. Some of the best restaurants in Vancouver are in Gastown. If you like areas with nightlife search a hotel in Gastown.
Yaletown is situated along a beautiful section of seawall, which has wonderful views of Vancouver Bay. If you likes the upscale areas search a hotel in Yaletown.
Vancouver is also a gay friendly city, with a large gay community in neighborhood of Davie Village . Vancouver was the first city in Canada to install a permanent rainbow crosswalks in 2013, it's at the corner of Davie and Bute Street.
Davie Village. Vancouver
If you want to stay in Davie Village you can search a hotel in Davie Village.
The West End is the least touristy neighborhood of downtown Vancouver. If you want to see how Vancouverites live, search a hotel in West End.
Now you know a little more about the best things to do in Vancouver and why you should travel to Vancouver. Remember that if you have any question about how to go or where to stay in Vancouver, or about any of the many interesting places to visit in Vancouver , you can ask in the Vancouver Forum and you can be sure that someone of the Eluleka Community is going to help you.
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